Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Government To Spy On Computers of the Jobless

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the watch-how-you-click dept.

Privacy 278

An anonymous reader writes "Jobseekers will be offered the chance to look for work through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which automatically pairs them up with opportunities that suit their skills after scanning their CVs. It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews. However, their activities may also be tracked using cookies, so their Job Centre advisers know how many searches they have been doing and whether they are turning down viable opportunities. Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would 'revolutionize' the process of looking for work. He said anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination.'"

cancel ×

278 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sensationalist much? (5, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357789)

I appreciate that the headline just copies that of the original article, but I really do expect better of Slashdot. (I know, I know, I must be new here.)

Re:Sensationalist much? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357871)

TFA says "remotely monitored" which is sensationalist but at least moderately accurate.

Slashdot says "spy on computers" which is sensationalist and inaccurate.

Also TFA points out the elephant in the room. Cookies cannot be used without consent in the EU. So, just say "no".

Re:Sensationalist much? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357963)

Also TFA points out the elephant in the room. Cookies cannot be used without consent in the EU. So, just say "no".

And then get called into the job centre to sit in front of a feckless bureaucrat, who explains that he is awfully "concerned" about your "failure to play the game" as their tracking system has been unable to detect your participation.

Re:Sensationalist much? (4, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358193)

And then you have a prima facie case to drag the whole sorry mess before an ECHR court whose judges just love to piss from a great height on national policies...

Re:Sensationalist much? (2)

joebagodonuts (561066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358485)

Right. That always works so well for the masses

Re:Sensationalist much? (3, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358503)

You do? Since when is it your human right to be given benefits by your government? I mean, I consider it a pretty valuable social policy, but it's far from a human right. If the government attaches strings to getting your benefits, like "you must let us see what you're doing to try and stop needing the benefits" I see no problem at all with that, let alone a human rights violation.

Re:Sensationalist much? (1, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358653)

I would go so far as to say that it is absolutely your human right to die homeless if you are unwilling to work to support yourself. Welfare is great for those who are faced with a bad situation and need help to get out of it, but it's not meant to be a lifestyle choice.

It's nice to have a system where the least fortunate can afford basic living most of the time, but I wouldn't have a problem if it became much harder to claim benefits in the UK.

Re:Sensationalist much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357997)

New here, or new to the UK newspaper industry. This headline is a bit on the restrained side.

Germany... (2)

disi (1465053) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357791)

in Germany jobless people have to report any application for a job to the agency and they have to apply for a certain amount of jobs per month or they get no welfare. Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-

Re:Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357823)

You don't get money for no labor on any job, why should a guaranteed safety net be labor-free?

Re:Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357851)

When I was unemployed I would have been happy to work, as long as I was getting paid minimum wage if it was "forced" labour. In fact, I spent much of my time volunteering for a charity where I only received money for my travel.

Re:Germany... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357883)

In the UK, you would just get your jobless benefit while "auditioning" for years - with no intent to hire. See Tesco for an example of this exact practice.

In the US, the same thing happens wherever it is tried. See the state of Georgia and the low acceptance rate.

Re:Germany... (5, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358213)

When I was unemployed there were so many companies using New Deal to get basically slave labour. Such delights as a 26-week "training course" that involved 35 hours a week of night shifts for £10 a week on top of your JSA... to qualify to be a forecourt attendant... Basically the company getting someone to do the graveyard shifts for a pittance who couldn't afford to quit or they'd be reported for non-compliance and lose ALL their benefits.

Re:Germany... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358207)

Because you paid into it when you were working. That was money that you didn't get paid while you worked. Now, you can argue the semantics about when the money was transferred to the fund, but either way it's money you could have been making.

And for people like HR reps, it would be better for everybody if we paid them to do nothing. Fucking nazis.

Re:Germany... (5, Interesting)

Evtim (1022085) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357853)

Yhea, same in the Netherlands. 1 job application per week or no welfare. Problem is you are not allowed to apply/take just any job. If you are let's say nuclear physicist and you apply to work as auto-mechanic, they tell you "you should find a job suited for you background, money has been invested in your education" Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

From free market point of view I do not understand this at all. If a company X can get overqualified person for the announced salary, isn't that good for the company? There are no laws that regulate the salaries in the private sector. You get more performance for the same buck! Maybe that person wants to stop doing nuclear physics. Maybe there are really no jobs and he/she is so desperate that they want that job never mind the over qualification..also the tech jobs went East but we are not allowed to work anything else. So become permanently unemployed or die (the former eventually leads to the latter anyway)? What other options are there?

This whole shit has to stop but the only way I see is total rebuild of the socioeconomic model of Homo Sapiens. Fat chance...

Re:Germany... (3, Interesting)

disi (1465053) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357911)

I meant that more related to the government knowing how many searches one did, which is a joke compared to other countries. I was once unemployed for three weeks in Ireland, went to the office, filled in a form and got a check end of each week. No questions asked to a maximum of six months, I think. This is a model I would support, no stress and within six months people should be able to find another job.

Re:Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357989)

Not that I support it, but the theory is that companies spend a lot of money up front training a new employee and whatnot, and an employee who has taken a job far below them will leave as soon as a better job comes along, effectively wasting everyone's time and money (except for their own, and they get to eat - selfish bastards).

Re:Germany... (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358021)

Because overqualified people quit out of frustration after you invest in getting them trained just right. Either that, or they try to boss everyone around.

Re:Germany... (5, Funny)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358043)

Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

Move to Iran or North Korea?

Re:Germany... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358059)

Your pretend there is no middle ground between "nuclear physicist" and "auto-mechanic". Fact is that the physicist will have a lot more job possibilities than the mechanic. If an unemployed mechanic would need to compete with dozens of overqualified people, then that mechanic will never get a job.

Re:Germany... (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358171)

A nuclear physicist is not over qualified to be an auto mechanic tho, he will probably know very little about cars and need to be trained. Cars are generally not nuclear powered so his existing skills would be pretty much useless.

On the other hand there are plenty of completely unskilled jobs which anyone could do with little or no training and putting over qualified people in those jobs is bad for the reason you state...

The problem is when there are a surplus of people qualified in a particular field, since you can't get a job doing what your qualified to do, and can't get a generic unskilled job either.

Lack of imagination. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358463)

Maybe the nuclear physicist should find a partner mechanic and start a business producing nuclear powered cars...

Re:Germany... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358471)

Cars are generally not nuclear powered

Unless it needs one point twenty-one jiggawatts.

Re:Germany... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358139)

If you are let's say nuclear physicist and you apply to work as auto-mechanic, they tell you "you should find a job suited for you background, money has been invested in your education" Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

The problem is that a nuclear physicist can't get hired anywhere. Human resources tend to have the policy that they should hire only people who qualify precisely for the job. If they are too good, then it's assumed they will get bored and leave in no time.

I read about some guy in the newspaper. He owned a company which died due to the financial situation. After that he applied for more than 4000 jobs and has been rejected for everything. He asked quite a number of those places to give a reason for the rejection and they all stated he was overqualified.

Re:Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358159)

Unless they are installing a Mr. Fusion, I would rather not have a nuclear physicist trying to repair my car, particularly when I'm paying upwards of $60/hour on the labor.

Re:Germany... (-1, Troll)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358235)

any person actually skilled in nuclear physics and who cannot find a well paying job is a fool. actual quantitative / analytical skills are always in demand.
   

Re:Germany... (3, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358291)

From free market point of view I do not understand this at all. If a company X can get overqualified person for the announced salary, isn't that good for the company?

Usually no. I don't know about Germany but in the US a statistic I have heard from more than one HR type is that employees usually cost an average of 120% of there normal annual compensation in the first year. This is due to fees with off cycle benefits enrollment, lost productivity of others while they train you for the company/job specific aspects of the position, anything else the company might offer like covering moving expenses, etc.

New employees at just about any level beyond cleaner or mail room typically represent some level of investment (that added 20%) and its looked at that way rather than just as a pure labor expense, regardless of how the accounting is done. Over qualified folks are generally looking for a better opportunity elsewhere from the moment they arrive. Even if they do great work they are likely to be out the door as soon as they can. The company is then going to have to hire someone new at 120% cost.

So from the perspective of many employees a correctly qualified person is a better investment. They will get more years out of them that way doing job they need done now, and if the company is growing perhaps they can manage to make the position grow at around the same rate the individual does which results in better economy for both parties.

Re:Germany... (1)

kraut (2788) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358493)

Which is fine and dandy but there are NO 4 open positions per month for nuclear physicist. So?

Have you tried applying in North Korea?

But yes, banning you from jobs you're overqualified for is a bit daft

Re:Germany... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358517)

The theory that leads to companies not wanting to employ overqualified people is that said overqualified people will be looking for something better constantly, or trying to one up their managers constantly. This leads in theory to them either not holding their job for long, and the company needing to start hiring/training all over again, or the manager getting seriously pissed off with the guy.

Re:Germany... (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357921)

in Germany jobless people have to report any application for a job to the agency and they have to apply for a certain amount of jobs per month or they get no welfare. Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-

Sounds like common sense to me. I just wish governments had enough backbone to actually do stuff like that.

Whenever you create a system which covers people's basic needs without asking anything in return you'll create a bunch of people who'll take what's offered then dedicate their free time to wheeling and dealing for beer money (usually doing 'easy money' stuff which is detrimental to society...)

Why would anybody try to get a proper job when they can live like that?

Re:Germany... (5, Insightful)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358113)

It can sound like common sense but as with many thing the devil is in the detail.

Consider cleaning parks for example. That's going to be a local council responsibility in the UK but in many cases the council probably contract it out to a private company. So within the current framework, if people on benefits are made to do the work then the private enterprise is getting the money for the contract but has lower labour costs. Who becomes the parasite then?

In principle I have no objection to people on benefits having to carry out some civic function but I am very opposed to any private enterprise profiting as a result. That's why I am opposed to the current UK Workfare scheme. It's not creating jobs; it's just allowing private enterprise to get free labour, in effect making them government subsidised. If they're getting taxpayer funded labour, then I as a taxpayer should get a vote at their AGM.

Re:Germany... (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358199)

There are many things which local councils don't do due to lack of budget, while they might clean parks they generally don't collect dropped litter from the streets in general (and dropped litter gets everywhere due to the wind)...

And if a private company is doing such a contract using labour provided as part of the benefits system, then they should either be paying minimum wage to those people instead of benefits, or else the private company should be receiving a significantly reduced fee just for managing the workers rather than doing the actual work.

But something has to be done about the benefits system, there are far too many people getting a free ride and know exactly how to play the system, while those in genuine need lose out.

Re:Germany... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358231)

That can be fixed...

Re:Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358643)

Personally i would prefer that the Council do it themselves with the people on benefits.

Parasite contractor companies employ people on minimum wages on short term contracts (at best). The employees will need to claim in-work benefis to make a living wage. The contractor has no interest in the welfare of their hires and they will drop them whenever suits them. The only poeple who benfit from this setup is the compay owners and shareholders who are most likely in no way affected by reduced wages for people cleaning parks.

At least the council could have their welfare teams work closely with the departments who are doing the work, help the claimants work through the kind of issues that might be stopping them from being more gainfully employed, give them some sort of progeression in the job if they are doing well, etc. Like a proper caring employer might.

Paying parasite contractors to do "Pauline's pens" job seeker's courses and farming them out to other parastite contractor companies to keep them on the breadline is a complete waste of taxpayer's money and does nothing to help the people caught in the benefits trap. Of course, the kind of people who own these companies fulfilling government contracts probably live in Chipping Norton and are members of the same hunt, etc., as the policy makers.

Re:Germany... (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358157)

"Whenever you create a system which covers people's basic needs without asking anything in return you'll create a bunch of people who'll take what's offered then dedicate their free time to wheeling and dealing for beer money (usually doing 'easy money' stuff which is detrimental to society...)"

Um...

In my state, unemployment is an INSURANCE program that you pay into when you are working. You can only collect if you have paid into it. And you ALSO have to fulfill certain requirements, such as applying for a certain number of jobs per week and turning in those records so they can check up on you.

Re:Germany... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358259)

They do that in the US. It's just that there's no guarantee that you'll get it, unless you meet a long list of requirements and submit to whatever humiliation the state employees feel you deserve. On top of which, they're usually in collusion with the employers as the employer is where the money comes from in the nominal sense.

Also, we had that in the US, it was called the Works Progress Administration. The WPA worked well, but, it's communist, so we can't have that along with all the other nice stuff that's deemed to be communist. My home state of Washington benefited a great deal from the dams and infrastructure they built.

Re:Germany... (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358351)

I don't disagree with you in principle but let me play devils advocate.

I left my job to do some traveling once and when i returned was voluntarily unemployed. So I was not collecting any assistance, however I have recent ( a couple years ago ) experience as an unemployed job seeker none the less.

You work the web. You call your friends, and contacts, and sit by the phone. Well several times I got calls, to the gist of "hey just read you CV can you come in and interview today?"

You want to be able to take those interviews, they are perspective employees who either need someone with your skills immediately or are particularly excited about perhaps getting someone your specific background. Either way its a favorable position for you be in. Yes you could take your mobile to the park but then you'd need to drive home change clothing at the least before you can go wherever in town they are. Might be hard depending on time.

Re:Germany... (1)

radja (58949) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358387)

it sounds like slavery to me, because people are forced to work and do not get any wages. A workforce for the government should be paid at least minimum wage, and not be on welfare which comes with a lot of other restrictions. The system asks a LOT in return for welfare... more than a job, in my dutch experience.

Re:Germany... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358617)

"wheeling and dealing for beer money"

Still much cheaper to fund than those other freeloaders the "entire banking system" who managed to demand and receive 'all' the money directly from the tax payer to their accounts.

Re:Germany... (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358175)

As with most systems there is abuse. There are people who want to abuse the system and get money to live and not work. Others just need it to help get them off their feet. If you push forced labor that should crack down on the slackers, however if they are trying to get off your feet finding a job is a full time job.

Re:Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358323)

The main problem with forced labour is that it puts people out of job who would otherwise have done the same labour for pay. Indeed, the very same person who does the forced labour might have been willing to do the very same work in a paid-for job if he had been offered that job.

Re:Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358487)

And those people are right. Applying for jobs is not work, it is just trying to find the means to provide for yourself again. As long as you receive money from the people who pay taxes, it is no more than reasonable that you do something in return.

Re:Germany... (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358621)

Still people say it is not enough and unemployed people should be a workforce of the government to clean parks etc. -.-

Or the government could help out and provide said park-cleaning as a JOB you could apply for!

ITT: U MAD? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357799)

YOU MAD POORFAGS?

Re:ITT: U MAD? (1, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357873)

I find your post fascinating. How did you get past the caps filter?

Re:ITT: U MAD? (1, Offtopic)

Inda (580031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358189)

SPACES, MY FRIEND, SPACES

Re:ITT: U MAD? (1, Offtopic)

Inda (580031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358201)

I should probably add that the AC wasn't me.

When I troll, I troll logged in.

And, oh, you must be new here :)

Something to consider (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357805)

Any entity will always use any information they have for its own benefit, so why are cookies able to be used like that?

idiocy (1, Troll)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357813)

I wonder how quickly this Mr Duncan-smith would change his mind about lacking 'imagination' if he had to choose between picking up trash on the street and cleaning urinals at subway stations. Fuck people like this.. I call stuff like this the 'cry of the successful.' It's full of just as much bullshit as the 'cry of the entitlement princess' and deserves just as much derision.

Re:idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357857)

I'm not sure I understand your problem.

Do you think that people who feel cleaning jobs beneath them deserve the State to fund their lifestyle?

Re:idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358143)

The problem is that Mr Duncan-smith is openly saying that he wants a society where people without imagination should starve to death.

People with imagination doesn't need to seek jobs, they can create them. The entire welfare system is made to make sure that society works even for people without imagination. I don't mind if we treat less capable people as second order citizens that much but to not treat them as citizens at all not only shows a lack of empathy but is outright stupid and shows a lack of understanding of how society works.

If people don't have a reasonable way to get food on the table (The reasons doesn't matter, it could be lack of education or plain stupidity.) then they will turn to the unreasonable ways. This includes illegal methods like burglary and robbery.
Think less of a welfare system as a handout to someone who doesn't deserve it and more as a cheaper way to keep down crime. Hiring more cops and creating a police state is not really that effective.

Re:idiocy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358549)

Maybe not, but allowing concealed carry with few restrictions IS effective. Not gonna be much robbery or burglary if there is a 90% chance of getting shot dead...

Re:idiocy (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357863)

That didn't take much choosing, I'll go with trash thanks.

Isn't the entitlement princess really the one who refuses to pick up trash?

Re:idiocy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357901)

See, there, you're lacking in imagination. The choice is not between being a streetcleaner and being a janitor. The choice is between being a streetcleaner, being a janitor, or being unemployed by choice. Taxpayer is not going to pay for people to be unemployed by choice. But you say the job isn't much fun? Cry me a river. Lots of people have jobs that suck. So I guess this is that cry of the entitlement princess you were talking about?

Re:idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358261)

See, there, you're lacking in imagination. The choice is not between being a streetcleaner and being a janitor. The choice is between being a streetcleaner, being a janitor, or being unemployed by choice. Taxpayer is not going to pay for people to be unemployed by choice. But you say the job isn't much fun? Cry me a river. Lots of people have jobs that suck. So I guess this is that cry of the entitlement princess you were talking about?

You think there are open positions as janitors and street cleaners?
The options are being unemployed or being a burglar.

Re:idiocy (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358639)

Hey, someone has to keep the alarm companies in business! Won't someone think of the rent-a-cops?!?

Re:idiocy (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358249)

Fair enough if you don't want to be a street cleaner or janitor... But why then should the government (ie the rest of us taxpayers) give you free money?

If you don't want to do an unpleasant job, then you should find yourself a better one, you should have no right to simply sit on your ass at the expense of everyone else until the perfect job comes along. Instead work hard at your unpleasant job and perhaps study part time so you can learn something better.

People in other countries have it far worse, in many places the government won't do anything for you at all if you haven't got a job, so your choice is between picking up trash from the street or having to sleep among that trash.

Incidentally, picking up trash isn't that bad of a job... You get gloves, a stick with a grabbing claw on the end, brushes etc so it's not like you actually have to get covered in filth. You just walk around pushing a trashcan on wheels, and any trash you see you pick up with your claw and put in the trashcan. You even get a sense of satisfaction because the streets look a lot better when they aren't covered in trash.

Re:idiocy (1)

Inda (580031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358477)

It's a horrible job.

One summer, I fancied an outside job. There was one for cutting grass all day. Perfect, I thought. Fresh air, sunlight, and that smell of freshly cut grass all day.

Before the engines were starter, litter picking was in order.

Most of the time it was on housing estates and people actually had the price of the grass cutting added to their rent. They still choose to throw out nappies, used toilet paper, last night's dinner, condoms, tampons and everything else yucky.

Little picking is a horrible job.

Cutting grass was the best summer job ever.

Re:idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358569)

what "free money" are you talking about ??
In most countries you pay a monthly unemployment insurance premium while you are working. It is mandated by law, and if you haven't been working for the last year or so, you won't get any unemployment benefits when you loose your job.
There's nothing free about it. It's an insurance you are forced to pay.

overly dramatic. (5, Insightful)

agendi (684385) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357815)

Is this using a new definition of spying that I'm not aware of? Tracking sure but spying is a bit dramatic.

Re:overly dramatic. (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357877)

If you read the article it's barely even that - they're tracking their use of that site, not their computer (or web) use in general. It really is a complete non-story.

Re:overly dramatic. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358247)

In addition to only being logging the use of the government job search site, and associating it to a given user by cookies*, you're already required to show evidence to the Job Centre that you're looking for work, often by applying for vacancies listed by the Job Centre itself in order to keep your eligibility for Job Seekers Allowance, i.e. your unemployment payments.

This way, if you're using a computer to search for jobs, using the official Job Seekers search page, that will demonstrate you're looking for work and save making copies of job adverts you've applied for from the local paper and bringing them in, in order to keep your benefit. Saving paperwork and effort for all involved, and opt-in to boot. The Horror, where will it end?

* nobody better tell the Torygraph about apache webservers that records IP ADDRESSES and time and date of every visitor, OMG.

Re:overly dramatic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358467)

The problem is that the new jobsearch website is a steaming pile of poo, if you don't believe med just try it. I searched on there for admin jobs in my local area, not only were some of them miles outside the area I specified, but half the jobs were for "personal assistants" (i.e. carers). The direct.gov.uk one actually worked reasonably well before they "upgraded" it. Oh, and the staff at the Jobcentre don't bother to check for proof of job searches/applications, they just glace over (if that) what you have written down as having done and initial it, this new scheme isn't making it easier for jobseekers or jobcenter staff.

Error of omission (4, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357843)

There's an opinion on-line that the UK is turning in to some sort oppressive totalitarian state. It seems like this summary was written with this view in mind. It makes a number of errors of omission.

The article says it's opt-in! It only applies to that web-site too. That's obviously a huge omission to make from the summary. The summary seems to imply that the government would snoop on all traffic of a job-seeker and it was mandatory.

Finally, people who are claiming Job Seekers allowance are requesting support from the government while they look for a job. It's not totalitarian to suggest that we ensure that they are actually looking for a job!

As a taxpayer and a liberal democrat, it's something I support!

Re:Error of omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357887)

It's not totalitarian to suggest that we ensure that they are actually looking for a job!

But not if it violates anyone's privacy. Privacy & freedom > money, safety, etc.

As long as it's not at all mandatory...

Re:Error of omission (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357895)

Not only is it not totalitarian to expect people out of work claiming Job Seekers allowance to be looking for work, it is actually a requirement to receive the benefit.

In addition last time I had to claim it (about 15 years ago now) you also had show the evidence of the jobs you had applied for or you would loose the benefit.

Re:Error of omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357957)

Once the benefit is loose, who knows what it is capable of?

Re:Error of omission (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358085)

In my limited experience of Job Seeker's Allowance, you didn't actually have to actually try and get a job. You just had to go through the motions of looking. When I claimed I was asked to fill in a ridiculous form which told me that I had agreed to do things like 'look at the job adverts in the paper', and I had to log all jobseeking activity against the targets that the advisor had set for me.

But all that was just busywork - I very much doubt there is a correlation between the amount of classified ads someone reads or covering letters someone writes and their employability. All the box-ticking and logging just leaves less time for actual job hunting. And with the new system, it will be the same - no amount of web clicking will get someone employed on its own.

The job search the job centre did for me was good, though I found a job quick enough on my own. But it seems that these days most job adverts are duplicates of the same agency mass mailing, so that's probably no help either.

Re:Error of omission (4, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358417)

Not only is it not totalitarian to expect people out of work claiming Job Seekers allowance to be looking for work, it is actually a requirement to receive the benefit.

Yes, looking for work is a requirement. A stupid totalitarian declares formal rules. A clever totalitarian creates a reasonable rule, then adds various dubious caveats. If IDS says that "anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination,'" then we're talking about the reasonable rule "jobseekers allowance only for those seeking work" backed up with the caveat that "if you're unemployed, it's your own fault," despite the fact that we're in a recession and unemployment is quite high.

He's ignoring that indolence is not the only cause of unemployment.

Re:Error of omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357929)

SHHH!!!!

We're trying to keep the trash who believe everything they read away, don't burst the bubble.

Re:Error of omission (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357931)

Yes, in fact, this appears to be something the government is finally getting absolutely right! It kind of amazed me that such a service didn't already exist, but better late than never. Using technology to help improve employment at scale is an obvious and good idea, more of this please!

Re:Error of omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358319)

It will be a box checking exercise that will not give real results, and probably cost more than it saves.

Contrary to the original post it will of course require users to login to the server and once logged in the server side software will record their activity, cookies would only be used to maintain state in the stateless http world.

Real jobs will be found by motivated jobseekers probably using resources other than this site.

Unmotivated jobseekers will continue apply and to turn up to grim interviews for hopeless minimum wage positions clutching copies of Socialist Worker, and expressing a great interest in organising the workforce and issues of health and safety.

Positively motivating and training jobseekers and providing real jobs is the real way to address this, rather than just trying to demonize them.

Re:Error of omission (3, Informative)

pev (2186) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357993)

As I understand it from the news last night, it's currently been trialed as an opt-in system but will be rolled out as compulsory in the new year.

I'm very much liberal but in two minds about it. I've never intentionally signed on except for an educational experience once where I was forced to in order to receive redundancy compensation for months of wages owed when an employer went into liquidation. Now I should explain that I'm an embedded systems engineer and live in a small town in somerset [frome-tc.gov.uk] The experience was fascinating but their system was catering to more laboring jobs than professional. I had to jump through the hoops (despite not wanting to sign on!) so had them trawling through their vacancies. They found me roles as cook, HGV driver, forklift operator, street sweeper... So I suggested searching for more useful terms such as "computer", "software" etc... I think the closest they ever got was IT helpline support in a company a two hour drive away.

Anyway, my point is, if I *did* find myself unemployed and forced to take the JSA, would I want it dependent on a well intentioned but ultimately useless system deciding that I'm not eligible to get the money for support that I need because I won't apply for jobs that would never be on their system in the first place? Er... No.

Having said that, the principle is laudable. I know a couple of people that work the system and have never worked an honest days work in their life and have no intention of doing so as they're quite happy on the JSA. But then, they're crafty and any system that's going to work and do the right thing for the majority of people probably wouldn't be capable of forcing them into work anyway.

Re:Error of omission (1)

pev (2186) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358009)

Sorry, bad grammar, I meant to type "can't apply for relevent jobs through their system as the jobs wouldn't be on their system in the first place" ...

*pesky faulty brain-finger interface*

Re:Error of omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358211)

Problem is, having had to use this new system, that not enough employers use the system - because they get deluged with under qualified applicants trying to fulfil their quota, and the website itself is not particularly well designed. I was signed up on it for three weeks, and did not find a single useful Job, (not helped by the terrible geographical filtering - you cannot search for say, "Bath, Bristol and Trowbridge", you can only search in a radius around a postcode - which doesn't take into account transport links).

There have also been several scam jobs found on the listing (as listing is free). All in all, being forced to use it is not helpful.

In the meantime, an employment agency found me a job, to which I applied, interviewed, and was accepted, and it didn't even appear on the government website.

Mandatory from 2013, and T+C sends data out of EU (1)

fantomas (94850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358239)

Will be compulsory to use [bbc.co.uk] for jobseekers from next year (as in, 2 weeks from now).

Have a friend who uses it. They checked the terms and conditions of signing up to use it (remember this is mandatory for those people who wish to sign on for benefits, e.g. somebody who has paid taxes for 20 years and would now like a little back from the taxes to help them get by on important bills for the next few months til they find their next job). If you register on the system, the terms and conditions currently note that your personal data can be passed on to third parties outside the EU.

I don't remember us signing up to that agreement when we agreed to the contract where we pay taxes into society, and when we need some help we can get a little back.

I'll ask my friend to send over the details of the text and I'll post it.

Re:Error of omission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358293)

As someone who is currently using this system, let me tell you a few things:

The Universal Job Search is crap. At its best, it's no better than what was there before, at its worst it actually has less information and seems to give you jobs at random regardless of what qualifications you put in.

You must log in to the site every single day and give reasons for not applying for the crap load of unrelated or unapplicable jobs that you get matched with, and if you don't, you get referred to an appeal committee straight away and might have your job seekers allowance stopped (anything from a week to three years).

The government is planning on making this compulsory, so god help those who don't have access to a computer and the internet at home. They'll have to travel to the library every single day just to do this, and depending on where you live that isn't exactly a practical or cheap thing to do.

Typical of British government IT and welfare policy, it's a total mess.

Typical of Slashdot, the people commenting are those who never go near the damn thing.

Re:Error of omission (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358385)

The article says it's opt-in! It only applies to that web-site too. That's obviously a huge omission to make from the summary.

You've not visited a UK jobcentre recently, I take it. "Opt-in" at the government level is like (to use a corporate analogy) "recommendations" from the board that because "encouraged" at the upper management, "strongly encouraged" by the time it reaches middle management, and "optional, but if you don't do it it won't look good at your next pay review" by the time it reaches the ground-floor grunts. Every two weeks is your "pay review" in the jobcentre and if you think it's wearing having to defend your performance to your boss once a year, try explaining to your case officer that we're in a recession and there's no jobs every two weeks.

Jobcentre policies lead you to apply for jobs you're not qualified for, wasting your own time and the time of several HR departments, just to prove you're "trying". My first experience of claiming unemployment benefit was after graduating, and even though I had a proper graduate job starting 3 months later, they kept pushing adverts for full-time posts in shops and fast-food restaurants at me. In the end I started ignoring them, and they threatened to withdraw my benefits if I didn't pick up my game in the next month. And that job I mentioned? Yeah, that was starting two weeks after that letter....

How about more FT/direct labor vs temps? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357861)

Given how much permatemping runs rampant in the UK and EU (and if the US doesn't amend Right to Work to cover temporary workers, them too), it would be valid to turn offers for "temporary work" that isn't temporary. How about removing the avenues of labor classification abuse by employers as well as removing all the cost reductions?

Spying on the jobless is just like the job tryout program that Tesco abuses and that some security company abused for the London Olympics - doing nothing to employers and not equalizing the cost of temporary labor to FT/direct.

eek, panic (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357881)

Website owner dares to track users' interactions with the site. Surely this can't be allowed? The end of the world is nigh!

Its all bloody insane. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357907)

The system doesn't work properly, its not easy to use and is maximally intrusive.

It was introduced without warning with three days "live testing" over a weekend at the beginning of November and was a complete surprise to users of the previous system. The data is dieplayed in an inflexible way, can't be sorted and jobs are impossible to categorise as the keyword search is up the shoot. Unreformed Scrooge (Are there no prisons? Are the Union workhouses still in operation? The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?) would be proud of it.

When they start enforcing it in the New Year, there's going to be a lot more beggars on the streets as they remove benefits from people who can't use it as the DWP envisage. And employers are going to be deluged with even more unsuitable applicants who are making the mandatory applications to keep on the treadmill.

As the world hasn't ended so far, I just hope Ian Duncan Smith gets a Ghostly Visitation on Christmas Eve and repents of his wicked ways.

Yep - fat chance.......

Probably just a tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357917)

Judging from what's going on in other EU countries, I'd say this is likely just another tool to keep the poor in poverty-stricken wage-slavery.

Typical British government rubbish (2)

pointyhat (2649443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42357933)

This entire scheme is crazy. Why?

Number one: not everyone has a computer in the UK believe it or not, particularly the over 40's.

Number two: every government run JobXYZ service only has minimum wage crap which is usually supported by government schemes or has chains of hundreds of applicants. Hiding these jobs behind a web site is just going to hide the problem.

Number three: it's obviously a cost cutting exercise so they can stick some more booths in the JobCentre sites and get rid of more staff.

Number four: There aren't actually enough positions to fill in the UK. We've automated or contracted everything out to other countries. People will be unemployed as they are not needed to keep the cogs oiled. Solving the employment problem in the UK is only possible by loom smashing now.

Number five: the government manage to screw up every IT project out there. This will be another victim.

argh.

No, it's crazy because (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358329)

It was approved of by someone whose nickname in the Army was "Drunken". Given that this was the British Army, where a certain officer was nicknamed "foggy" because he was wet and thick, that tells you a lot of what you need to know.

Re:Typical British government rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358457)

American here, and some jobs require online application. Worse yet, they may require registration to a website to apply for the job. And no, these aren't "career" type jobs. One grocery store requires account registration just to apply. And no, paper applications aren't available.

Sure, library? Yeah, great idea! Trust someone else's computer with your SSN! But why should I have to keep polluting the net with account registration after registration just to apply for a job I may or may not get? We need laws letting paper applications or temporary online applications be done in lieu of needing a registered account.

By the way, do you want to live in a society where you work to live? Or would you rather live in a society where we live to work?

How good are the benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357977)

I was unemployed for a few months in California in 2003. Then, you could collect unemployment for up to 6 months. I maxed it out at $1,000/mo (my medical payments were slightly higher). I had to send to the authorities a list of companies I had sent my resume to at regular intervals. (I ended up sending ~200 applications before getting a job.)

Now I'm possibly facing a similar situation in Finland. Medical is provided by the government so I can actually live with unemployment, which for me would be ~$2,500/mo. I can collect the benefits for a year and a half, I think, but the pay gets worse over time. I don't think there's any obligation to show effort in finding a job.

Re:How good are the benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42357981)

One more thing: severance didn't affect unemployment in California, in Finland it does.

What Jobs? (2)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358035)

They want a workforce, but they have to assume it'll be unskilled. They can't put these people to work on virtually anything done by local councils as the unions will go ape and strike. A whole load of demeaning labour is already being done by people on community service sentences and there would be riots if they started treating unemployed people like criminals. That leaves them with one option - making deals with companies in the private sector for cheap workers, effectively being a US-style Welfare to Work scheme. Why does that notion fill me with dread?

It's the price you pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358047)

to be on the public dole. If you want to take money from everyone else, you had better accept the fact that your benefactors have a right to know whether you are simply stealing their money.

Slashdot To Spy On Computers of the Readers (1, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358103)

So, the Benefits Agency want to get people to apply for jobs through a website they run, and grind through some analytics to see who is applying for what - or even applying at all.

Come on, Samzenpus, I know you fell for the tabloid sensationalism and all, but I'd expect better than that from you.

Re:Slashdot To Spy On Computers of the Readers (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358145)

"but I'd expect better than that from you."

Come on. Your user number is pretty low. You're not exactly new here.

Re:Slashdot To Spy On Computers of the Readers (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358357)

Not exactly. They have set up a website with poor security which may be in breach of the Data Protection Act, and their solution to this is to demand that people use it. The European Court is going to love this one.

I estimate that over my career I've been a net contributor to the Exchequer to well into 6 figures, if not 7. If I become unemployed I expect some of that back. It should not be hard to devise a system which takes contribution into account in assessing benefits, but instead this Government chooses to regard all unemployed people as layabouts - forgetting that a significant part of the unemployment is due to the deregulation of the banks and the privatisation of public assets, both of which started when they were last in power.

Re:Slashdot To Spy On Computers of the Readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358629)

I think you're attributing thought where there is none. If you're not working, then you're not making a Conservative money. This is the reason you won't be getting much in the way of benefits. Any reasons they give are simply means to their ends. Independent advice, the same: they'll accept it if it's what they wanted to hear, ignore it otherwise.

A bit sensational but also reasonable (2)

DrXym (126579) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358295)

I'm failing to see the issue. If someone is claiming state benefit then the state is entirely within its rights to withhold or limit payments if it believes someone is deliberately not doing all they could regain employment. This is not a new concept. That said, the original article sounds sensational and credits the state with more intelligence than it possesses. I expect if they do anything at all it will be to run a nightly batch job that adds a few rows to the existing unemployment records of a person which say the last time they visited the site, how many jobs they looked at and how many they applied for. It might provide ammunition during an interview and help a decision stick but it's not going to tell welfare officers anything they probably didn't know from talking to a person.

I think a payment card (which the article also discussed) is way overdue and would cut down benefit fraud and stop people using money they should be spending on food using it to spend on drugs, booze, cigarettes or the geegees.

Re:A bit sensational but also reasonable (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358403)

I'm failing to see the issue. If someone is claiming state benefit then the state is entirely within its rights to withhold or limit payments if it believes someone is deliberately not doing all they could regain employment. This is not a new concept. That said, the original article sounds sensational and credits the state with more intelligence than it possesses. I expect if they do anything at all it will be to run a nightly batch job that adds a few rows to the existing unemployment records of a person which say the last time they visited the site, how many jobs they looked at and how many they applied for. It might provide ammunition during an interview and help a decision stick but it's not going to tell welfare officers anything they probably didn't know from talking to a person.

I think a payment card (which the article also discussed) is way overdue and would cut down benefit fraud and stop people using money they should be spending on food using it to spend on drugs, booze, cigarettes or the geegees.

Who cares if they spend the payment card funds on booze or cigarettes? I sure don't. Why do you feel the need to tighten the noose around people?

I wouldnt worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358311)

because it doesn't work. I had to use the site for a week or so after the change, and it was the worst website I have every used. I swear a 12 year old designed it (Actually that disrespects all the 12 year olds who can actually make a website).
And it is actually mandatory if you are on job seekers. You are required to either enter the branch or search online for a certain amount of jobs per week to obtain you funding. I am not against this, but as with all the UK government websites, they need to work correctly, which they don't.

My .02 (2)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358393)

This makes a strong argument for unplugging from technology altogether. I realize this article is probably a whole lot of sensationalism but it also serves as a slippery slope warning. If laws were enacted similar to this one, I would go old fashioned in my job search altogether. The reality of the situation is that only a small number of people will find ways to take advantage of a system. Should the majority be punished for the transgressions of the few? No, that is tyranny.

Violation of EU Privacy Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358401)

If this doesn't violate the rather extreme EU laws about privacy, then those laws are a joke and should be repealed since they're only getting in the way of the correct operation of the Internet.

Bad pairings (2)

randomErr (172078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42358537)

I can just see it now:
  • - You've been matched to 'ditch digger.'
  • - I refuse because I'm a computer science major with a bad back. I can't take that pay cut
  • - We're sorry; you have refused a viable job. All benefits have been terminated.

A Tale of Two Computers / Operating Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42358603)

Once their was an unemployed person who had his/her every move monitored onlline because they received unemployment/welfare.

Once thier job search activities were done, they booted into thier second partician and used thier other (Free as in Linux) operating system.

Or, for the less tech savey, they went to use their second computer to keep their activities from being tracked (spyed on) by a cookie.

The End.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>